Album Review: Desaparecidos – Payola

Payola by Desaparecidos

#aotd is Payola by Desaparecidos. This album is a blend of punk rock, arena rock and indie rock styles which come together to form a sound which is simultaneously aggressive but also polished. The band is fronted by Conor Oberst who is also the mastermind behind the insanely successful and influential Indie band, “Bright Eyes”. Conor’s distinctive manic delivery and penchant for well-written lyrics shine through on Payola. His unhinged voice brings a tonne of raw energy, like on the closing track “Anonymous” where he goes from a sombrely delivered pre-chorus into an explosive chorus which captures a real rebellious punk energy. The lyrical proficiency on here is demonstrated through Conor’s fluidity to go from, storytelling, to a hooky chorus, to something a bit more traditional and so on. It is chaotic but it fits together surprisingly well. The song topics on here can feel a bit off for me, even if their messages are delivered so well. The song “10 Steps Behind” is about the oppression of Muslim women within their own religion and feels a bit shallow because it doesn’t touch on the topic with enough insight. Also the song “Anonymous” is about the internet group Anonymous, like does anyone still care about them or? Payola has a more crisp sounding production than most Punk albums which leads to a sound which has more in common with Weezer than it does The Sex Pistols. This poppier sound works for the most part as what we are essentially getting is a collection of catchy, political, rock songs that aren’t constrained by gritty production. By the end of the album the constant barrage of larger than life guitars does get a bit draining and the album could have done with some more variety. While Payola can become slightly derivative, it is still some super energetic and catchy punk rock with some sharp political commentary that will surely satisfy any Oberst enthusiasts or anyone wanting to just rock out maaaaan.
Rating: 3.6/5

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